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A Rose By Any Other Name...
"It all sounds the same! " shouted the frustrated seminarians sitting in Hebrew 101.

One pastor-hopeful raised his hand and said, "Professor, I've used the same mnemonic for this Hebrew word,like, five times!"

While another student grumbled, "I'll never get this — I just can't remember these words. They all sound the same!"

All to which the Hebrew professor replied in a sweeping statement, "Go over them again until you know them. It's the only way. Hebrew vocab quiz tomorrow — know these words."

There is a Better Way to Learn Hebrew Vocabulary!

In this one-of-a-kind vocabulary guide, I will show you how to overcome Hebrew words that sound-alike, called "homophones."  Drilling them into your short-term memory via rote memorization is a poor way to learn — it takes longer and simply isn't effective in the long-run.

Watch and Share this Video on Hebrew Homophones!

This 3-part video will help explain how to memorize "sound-alike" Hebrew words. Share this video on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and with your fellow seminarians and Hebrew professors!

More Biblical Hebrew Memory Helps!
For more powerful memory helps in learning Biblical Hebrew grammar, vocabulary and Hebrew paradigms be sure to visit Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! Or visit my author homepage, Boost Your Memory! While you're there, be sure to sign up for our newsletter that has exclusive discounts for our members!
 
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Nouns in Hebrew: Gender


All Hebrew nouns are either feminine or neuter. Hebrew does not carry a "neuter" gender, as Biblical Greek does. 

While there are some predictable patterns in determining a noun's gender,the only absolute way to determine a noun's gender is to look it up in a Hebrew lexicon or dictionary.




Feminine Nouns — Singular
Here are some quick "identifiers" for the feminine noun:
  • Females and animals = feminine in Hebrew
  • Nouns ending in qames-he (שָׁנָה) are normally feminine (there are always exceptions)
  • Some masculine nouns are made feminine by adding the qames-he! For example king, מלך becomes queen: מלכה
  • Nouns ending in tav (אחות) will usually be feminine
  • Body parts (in pairs) are generally feminie (e.g. hand, יד)

Masculine nouns, in the singular, are unpredictable! Use a Hebrew lexicon if you need to be certain of the gender of a noun.

Hebrew Plural Nouns

Feminine Plural Nouns
Most feminine plural nouns end in holem-vav-tav (e.g. horses, סוסות). BUT there are a few that end in hireq-yod-mem (which you will see is usually reserved for masculine plurals) 

Masculine Plural Nouns
Happily, unlike singular nouns, the masculine plural is identified by the hireq-yod-mem suffix (e.g. men, אנשׁים).

BUT, there are some masculine plurals that take the usual feminine plural ending of the holem-vav-tav! For example, father is masculine, but fathers (plural) in Hebrew takes the "normal" feminine ending, אבות.


"Dual" Nouns
As the name implies, "dual" nouns name things that occur in pairs, especially body parts such as ears, hands, etc. Although some nouns take the dual ending that do not occur in pairs, such as water (מים).  The dual ending is normally accented patah-yod-hireq-mem. For example hands, ידים.

Mnemonics to Remember Noun Endings
Generally, mnemonics aren't needed to remember the endings, as they are pretty simple. But here are some helpful tips if you need a little memory "nudge!"
  • The feminine singular he suffix sounds like "Hey!" Imagine some guys "cat calling" girls saying, "Hey baby!"
  • The feminine singular tav can be remembered by a visual mnemonic: the tav is in the shape of a woman bent over on her hands cleaning or scrubbing. If you see the vav behind her, you know it is plural.
  • The masculine plural hireq-yod-mem suffix is easily rememberable as masculine by using the phonetic letter values of the Hebrew vowels/consonant and turning them into English: Hireq-Yod-Mem = "Hym" which reminds you of "Him," which is masculine. Easy!
  • If you know the masculine plural, you know the Dual.

More Biblical Hebrew Memory Helps!
I hope this article on learning the gender and number of nouns in Hebrew has helped you! For more powerful memory helps in learning Biblical Hebrew grammar, vocabulary and Hebrew paradigms be sure to visit Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! Or visit my author homepage, Boost Your Memory! While you're there, be sure to sign up for our newsletter that has exclusive discounters for our members!


 
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 The Hebrew Conjunction

In English the conjunction "and" is always written separately; in Hebrew the conjunction "and" (vav) is prefixed to the following word.

As we learned in other lessons, words in Hebrew will undergo vocal changes when prefixes are attached. The same happens with the "vav conjunction" as well. Lets take a look at the rules governing the vav conjunction:


Rule #1

Most often the vav conjunction appears as vav plus sheva. This vav-sheva combination will occur before consonants pointed with a full vowel. 

Rule #2
Before "labials" (bet, mem and pe — those consonants formed by the lips) the vav conjunction is written as a sureq.

Rule #3
Before yod and sheva a contraction happens and we are left with vav-hireq-yod.

Rule #4
Before a compound sheva the vav conjunction takes the corresponding short vowel of the compound.

Rule #5
Before monosyllabic words or words with accents on the first syllable, the vav conjunction is usually written as vav-qames.

Mnemonics to Remember the Rules for the Vav Conjunction

Rule#1: The Vav Conjunction Sheva and Shakes!
Simply memorize that the basic pointing of the vav conjunction is a sheva

Rule #2: Labials "sure wreck" (sureq) the Vav Conjunction!
You know that the basic rule for the vav conjunction is to point them with a simple sheva. When you come across a "labial" (bet, mem or pe) just remember that the labials sure wreck (sureq instead of vav-sheva) the vav conjunction!

Rule #3: Yo! Slide on over!
This is another easy to remember rule. Simply visualize that when you encounter a yod-sheva that the yod "slides" next to the vav and knocks out one of the "dots" of the sheva to form the vav-hireq-yod.


Rule #4: Compound sheva sheva on the wall, who's the prettiest of them all? 
When you encounter a compound sheva, simply remember that the sheva (which looks similar to a wall mirror) reflects back the half-vowel under the vav conjunction.


Rule #5: Single Syllable's are Tillable with Qames!
When you find a single syllable word (monosyllabic) or words that carry the accent on first syllable, just remember "single syllables are tillable." The qames looks like a shovel — a tool you use to "till" the ground under the vav forming a vav-qames conjunction.

More Biblical Hebrew Memory Helps!
I hope this article on learning the rules for the Vav Conjunction in Hebrew has helped you! For more powerful memory helps in learning Biblical Hebrew grammar, vocabulary and Hebrew paradigms be sure to visit Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! Or visit my author homepage, Boost Your Memory! While you are there, make sure to sign up for our newsletter for special discounts and announcements!